I haven’t always been great at quieting my mind. In fact, I’ve had my fair share of anxiety in the past few years and some days still do. (I’m a work in progress ;), it’s no easy task to tackle!) For some reason though, it’s incredibly easy for me to get lost in my thoughts and let my brain and worries run wild. It’s hard to reel them in and bring myself back to reality sometimes when it gets to be too much. It’s without a doubt mentally exhausting but also physically challenging too.
I had no idea the way that stressful thinking could take a toll on my body (and even those around me!) Although, there are tons and tons of factors that go into treating “anxiety” or feeling overwhelmed–I’ve found a few good ways to help me get a grip and unwind when the anxiety kicks in. Today, I want to share a few of my favorite things that have helped and I hope they help you too!
Meditation isn’t just some hippie dippie thing that you have to be out in a field of sunflowers with your hair blowing in the wind with bell bottoms on or anything. Even though, if you like that sort of thing–go for it! (I do love a good sunflower…) But, meditation can have multiple different meanings for many people. It can be prayer time or quiet time. It can simply be a “pause” in the day, or it can be full on affirmation/meditation time. That’s the beauty of it, it’s personal and you can make it whatever you’d like. That way, you can make it the experience whatever and however you need it to be FOR YOU. Luckily, we have some pretty awesome technology these days that can make a world of difference and help you get your meditation on anytime and anywhere. Beginner or expert.
Your meditation practice doesn’t have to be some elaborate thought out “thing” either. It can be as simple as you’d please.
So let me share a few of my favorite things that seem to quiet my thoughts when I need it the most.
1.) The Calm App: This app is by far my favorite I’ve found so far. It has multiple guided meditations that you can follow along with and learn how to really get into the whole “meditation” mindset. Guided meditations are exactly that-you have a guide talking you through the entire meditation to help steer your thoughts to help relieve anxiety and those feelings of overwhelm. It’s amazingly beneficial when you’re just starting out so that you get a good idea of what to do and what to look for when you sit down for your quiet time.
My favorite, favorite, favorite part of the Calm app is the “breathe” button.
This lovely button teaches you how to breath deeeeeeeeep. You can customize it according to your breathing pattern and do the practice for however long you’d like. I like to do this 10 minutes in the morning and then 10 minutes at night. It makes such a huge difference in my ability to think clearly, focus, and become for mindful of my feelings throughout the day.
2.) The Headspace App: This is the very first app I came across when I was looking for some sort of a meditation routine. It was so beyond helpful to me! There’s a 10 day program you follow that you just turn on the app and have “Andy” lead you through 10 different meditations. He teaches you the basics of how to shut off that ol’ mind of yours. I was amazed at what a difference I saw when I finished up the trial period and really looked forward to the time each day. I would recommend starting with this one first! Plus, Andy has an accent and has the best voice so….there’s that too. 😉
3.) Guided meditations on YouTube: One of my FAVORITE meditations is this one with Deepak Chopra. If you’ve never heard of him before, let me introduce you! He’s got THE most calming voice ever, (I may or may not have fallen asleep a few times during his meditations!) and takes any and all anxiety away in a matter of minutes. He speaks such calming words in his recordings and really helps you grasp a new perspective and slow your brain down where it belongs. There are of course SO many on YouTube or on different Podcasts, but this one is just my favorite. Deepak has a ton of different ones as well if you are a fan of his.
4.) Create a quiet space in your house. Find a small corner, preferably bright and air-y, or somewhere that gives you a calm feeling. Surround yourself with things in that corner that bring you happiness and give you a sense of peace. That way, you know when you go to that corner it triggers your mind and body that it’s time to shut down for a bit.
5.) Go for a walking meditation. Ever heard of such a thing? I hadn’t either until a few months ago and absolutely loved the idea. I’m a big fan of taking walks so when I put 2 and 2 together I thought what a fabulous way to unwind! I love to walk by the river here in Arkansas (especially as it’s within miles of us.) and it just has such a positive vibe to it. It’s fresh, green, and open! Maybe you could just take 10 minutes of your day during lunch to walk outside or when you get home from work head out the door for a quick walk. It doesn’t have to be 10 minutes, it could be an hour–whatever you need. I can start my walk in the grumpiest of moods feeling less than inspired. By the time I finish up, I feel so refreshed and new. Works like a charm! You could even turn on your meditations if you’d like, or music, or nothing at all.
As if you needed any more ideas of just how awesome taking a breather each day is, here are a few medical benefits too!
I hope this helps you in some way. Again, I am still a work in progress and learn more about deepening my practice all the time. But, I do hope this helps give you an insight into how to jumpstart your very own meditation practice! It’s truly the most wonderful thing I’ve done for my mind, well….ever. It allows me to shut down, get some space, find inspiration and motivation and start new each time. I hope you give it a try if you haven’t already. Start simple with just a few minutes a day and then move on from there. Let me know what you think!
Namaste’ my friends!
Questions for YOU:
What do you do to shut off your mind?
Are you a worrier?
Have you ever tried meditation before? What’s your favorite way?
As always, From Chelsea